Nicaragua (MNN) — Nicaragua is finally beginning to calm down after violent street protests, the largest the country has seen since 1990, rattled the country last week. The protests in Managua, led mainly by students, were a response to President Daniel Ortega’s attempt to change the social security system.
Nicaragua Rejects Pension Change
President Ortega had tried to increase social security contributions from workers and employers, while also reducing the pensions for workers. Ortega’s resolution for this change, as the world has seen, was not welcomed by the people.
Currently, various groups are reporting differing numbers for how many people have been killed in these protests. The Nicaraguan government’s official death toll is reported at 10. But the Permanent Commission on Human Rights is reporting 58 dead from the violent clashes.
In fact, once the protests turned violent, the government began brutally cracking down on the demonstrators. Some of the police force beat protestors, which only added more fuel to the fire driving the violence. The Nicaraguan government’s aggressive response has since been condemned by the US State Department along with the United Nations.
“One incident that happened was that a reporter, called Angel Gahona, was reporting on damage done to a bank, and he was doing a Facebook live video. While he was doing his report, he was shot in the head. I don’t know if he was shot purposely or if it was just a stray bullet, but he died,” Trans World Radio’s Steve Shantz says.
The resolution for the changes was revoked Sunday, and protests have since turned peaceful.
The Church in the Unrest
In Nicaragua, the Protestant Church is almost as large as the Catholic Church. With that said, the Church in Nicaragua is rather strong and influential. However, the problem comes from a lack of cooperation and unity between the two churches.
“I believe that the Protestant Church right now, and the Catholic Church– they need prayer that they can have a voice of reason and that they can have a strong witness during this time of violence and unrest and discontent,” Shantz shares.
In fact, Shantz sees the protests as a time for the Church to speak peace into the unrest. So please, pray for the Church there to respond to the people of Nicaragua with love and peace.
“And [pray they’d] also be able to preach the Gospel in the midst of this violence, and show that the Bible is the answer to our problems, not going out on the streets and throwing rocks at the police,” Shantz asks.
TWR currently does not have a direct presence in Nicaragua. However, the ministry does reach neighboring countries like Guatemala and Honduras.
TWR would like to have partners in Nicaragua in the future. But for the present time, the ministry hopes its recent signal powerup is reaching parts of the country with their biblical content. Pray this is indeed happening and that lives are being touched by Christ’s message through TWR’s work.